Unions respond to Clegg’s speech on Pupil Premium

Nick Clegg Q&A 21Following Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s speech at an event entitled ‘Delivering Education’s Progressive Promise: Using the Pupil Premium to Change Lives’ Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “NAHT has always supported the idea of a pupil premium and is perfectly comfortable with being judged on the performance of the most vulnerable pupils – this is, in any case, already happening.

“The government needs to be frank, however, that the pupil premium is not extra funding – it merely substitutes for cuts elsewhere. It is a redistribution of funds within the system not additional funding.

He went on to say that aspects of government policy are undermining the aspirations of the pupil premium.

“Contrary to Mr Clegg’s aims, the Treasury is actually asking the School Teachers Review Body – which sets teacher pay – to force schools which serve poorer communities to pay their staff less. This will make it harder to attract the best teachers and widen the gap between the rich and poor”, he added.

The event was hosted by the National Education Trust, to teachers and school leaders at a primary school in Islington.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “Introducing competition for funding amongst our schools is quite unacceptable. All schools must be fully resourced to provide the first class education service we need.

“State funded education must not become a lottery. If there is additional money then that should be used where it is most needed, on the basis of proper analysis of schools’ funding requirements.

“The Government needs to be honest. The pupil premium is simply being used to plug gaps in schools’ budgets because of other funding cuts by the Government. It is not being used for specific projects in the way Nick Clegg apparently thinks.

“The Government’s priority must be to restore the lost services; not introduce such unfair and ad hoc schemes.”

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